What‘s Happening at Walker

Rising fourth graders visit Walker School 2019

Walker school counselors to visit current fourth graders in coming weeks

The Walker Upper Elementary School school counselors are busy planning their annual visits to all city elementary schools to provide information and guidance to rising fifth graders. For a full calendar of related-events, see important dates below.

“We want to make the transition to a new school as seamless as possible for our current city fourth graders,” said Walker School Counselor John Kronstain. “By visiting these students in the coming weeks, we hope to make connections and put them at ease by providing useful information and answering questions they may have.”

Rising fourth graders visit Walker School 2019
Walker students lead visiting rising fifth grade students on tours to show them their future school.

After visiting each of the six elementary schools, Walker Upper Elementary School will invite all city fourth graders to visit the upper elementary school in the spring for Rising Fifth Grade Visit and Tour Day. This will be followed by a Rising Fifth Grade Parent Night that will include dinner, tours, and an information session for families to ask questions.

The school counselors will introduce the rising fifth graders to a variety of information including choosing electives for the 2020-21 school year.  Fifth and sixth grade students at Walker can choose two electives. The first selection must be a fine arts option–band, orchestra, music and chorus, or visual arts–and the second choice can be Spanish, Pre-Engineering, or an additional fine arts option (students may not choose both band and orchestra in the same year).

For more details on elective options, view this video:

Upcoming Important Dates

  • January 28 Buford Curriculum Expo (for rising 7th- and 8th-graders), 5pm
  • January 31  School counselor visits at Jackson-Via and Greenbrier
  • February 4  School counselor visits at Burnley-Moran and Clark
  • February 5  School counselor visits at Johnson and Venable
  • February 10-17  Elective forms sent home with students–please discuss and make selections with your student
  • February 28  Completed elective forms due back to school
  • March 31 and April 2: Instrument Selection Nights, 5-7pm
  • April 14  Rising Fifth Grade Visit and Tour Day at Walker Upper Elementary (students will be brought to Walker during the school day via school buses)
  • April 14  Rising Fifth Grade Parent Night at Walker, 5:30-7:30pm (parents and their rising fifth grade student are invited to join us for dinner and information session)





Illustration of book with circles containing curriculum areas like a globe or a beaker

Buford Hosts Rising 7th/8th Grade Curriculum Expo

Illustration of book with circles containing curriculum areas like a globe or a beakerAll rising 7th- & 8th-grade students and families are invited to Buford’s Curriculum Expo! Learn more about your elective choices for next year!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Buford Cafeteria

Interested in Buford engineering?

Attend the Buford Engineering Expo on February 13, 5:30-7pm!  Hear from students as they demonstrate projects and answer questions about the program.

Heading to CHS next year?

Check out the CHS curriculum fair on February 3, 4:30-7pm in the CHS Cafeteria. A Buford family information session will take place from 6:30-7:00pm in A-Commons.

Walker cooking club-girl chopping vegetables

Walker EDGE Club Spotlight: After-school cooking club is recipe for learning valuable life skills

Walker cooking clubThe Walker Upper Elementary Cooking Club is an after-school activitiy option for fifth and sixth grade students in the EDGE program who want to learn about basic food preparation and cooking skills.

Walker cooking club-girl chopping vegetables

Led by advisor Becky Calvert, the group meets once a week in the school kitchen for an hour and prepares a variety of recipes such as egg rolls, tomato soup, mini-quiches, mac & cheese, homemade granola, fruit and yogurt parfaits, kale chips, crepes, open face roasted veggie sandwiches, mango salsa,  cranberry orange muffins and vegetable jambalaya.

“The kids love cooking and are more likely to try something new if they made it,” said Calvert. “They are learning life skills and having fun while doing it.”

At the end of each semester, Calvert said the students receive a cookbook of the recipes they made so they can show their new skills off and re-create their favorite recipes at home.

Spring semester info and sign-ups for Walker’s EDGE clubs will be sent home on 1/27. Registration also begins on 1/27. The first club meetings will be held on 2/5. Fees are $20/semester (free for students with free/reduced lunch). For more information, check out the EDGE web site here!


Energy and Water Management Winter Quarter poster

City and Schools promote energy and water conservation-Winter Quarter Update

Energy and Water Management Program Winter Quarter poster

Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools. On April 11th, 2019 the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities. 

Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems. Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.

The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools. 

Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation. The 2019-2020 themes are:

  • Fall (September – November): The Value of Energy and Water
  • Winter (December – February): Understanding Our Energy and Water Use
  • Spring (March – May): Smart Energy and Water Use
  • Summer (June – August): Keep Going! Summertime Savings

Have questions about this program? Contact the City’s Energy and Water Management Team at EnergyWaterTeam@charlottesville.org.

Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.

2019-20 Education and Outreach

Energy and Water Management Program Winter Quarter posterWinter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use

Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?

We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?

There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!

Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.

Winter Quarter Tips:

  • Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
  • Turn the water off when not in use.
  • If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!


water and energy management posterFall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water

The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water.  Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.

In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit.  It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.

Fall Quarter Tips:

  • Last one out? Flip the switch!
  • Turn the water off when not in use.


Geography Bee finalists

‘Tis the season for Bees

Congratulations to all of our students who participated in the 2019 Walker Spelling Bee and Geography Bee. We are proud of your efforts!

2019 Walker Geography Bee

All students at Walker participated in the preliminary 7 rounds and from there, nine students advanced to the final competition consisting of 9 rounds.

The finalists were fifth graders Hayes Connaughton, Cameron Steele, George Aten, and Caja Edwards. Sixth grade finalists were Felix Facteau, Tayah Shanks, Will Maurer, Sam Palmer and Jack Wielar.

Congratulations to our top finishers: 1st Place–Will Maurer, 2nd place–Jack Wielar, and 3rd place–Tayah Shanks.

2019 Walker Spelling Bee

10 students competed in 10 rounds in the final competition for the annual National Spelling Bee at Walker School. The finalists were students Catherine Crook, Amelia Morrison, Esme Ogden-Amt, Elaina Pierce, Kamdyn Hargrove, Anne Goodall, Griffin Lees, Caitlin King, Ryleigh Harrington, and Maya Lila S.F.

Congratulations to all who participated, especially our first place finalist, Griffin Lees, who correctly spelled the word A-B-U-N-D-A-N-C-E for the win!

Draft calendar for 2019-20 school year. PDF is attached on this page. For details, call 245-2962.

Draft Calendar for 2020-21

Draft calendar for 2020-21 academic calendar. Call 245-2962 with questions.UPDATE: The Charlottesville School Board voted to approve this draft in January 2020. The Albemarle County School Board will vote on the calendar (with a possible slight change) later in January.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle School Calendar Committee has created a draft calendar for the 2020-21 school year.  The proposed calendar is nearly identical to this year’s.

Please take a minute to review the draft and share your thoughts with us.

A joint committee from Charlottesville Schools and Albemarle County Public Schools will review the feedback and then present a recommendation to the School Boards in December. After School Board consideration, a vote will be held in January.

Comments about the calendar:

  • Spring break: Our practice is to designate the first full week of April as our spring break. We are sometimes asked, Can’t you align spring break with U.Va.’s?   U.Va.’s spring break is typically near the beginning of March, which for K-12 students would make for a very long stretch without a break later in the spring. So while we recognize that this would be a good solution for U.Va. families, we feel that it doesn’t represent the interests of all our students and staff. A 2016 survey indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
  • Religious Holidays: Our practice is not to observe religious holidays as school holidays (but we do try to avoid scheduling evening events on major religious holidays). Students or staff who wish to be absent to observe a religious holiday are allowed to do so. For the 2020-21 school year, a professional learning day falls on Yom Kippur. This might be a benefit to Jewish families but might present a conflict for Jewish teachers and staff (who are welcome to take a personal day off but would miss the professional learning day). We welcome your input on this draft.
  • History about the calendar development: For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar. A joint committee creates a draft calendar, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the draft before submitting a recommended calendar to the two school boards for approval.
Two students perform their original lyrics in the hip hop workshop.

6th graders participate in hip hop workshop and attend live performance at Paramount Theater

Agent Skidoo teaches student about hip hop lyrics.Grammy-winning hip hop artist, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, dropped by Walker School to lead Ms. Bohannon’s music students in a behind-the-scenes hip hop song writing workshop.

Skidoo demonstrated some of his own rhymes and beats, and then encouraged students to write their own hip hop verses. One by one (or in some cases two by two), students mustered up courage to share their own original raps to background beats booming through the auditorium.

“Learning writing and rhyming skills through music is a perfect lesson for this age group,” said Charlottesville Schools Fine Arts Coordinator Aaron Eichorst. “Through this experience, the sixth graders are learning that their voice is important, and that they can have agency over things that matter to them through creative expression.”

Two students perform their original lyrics in the hip hop workshop.The workshop is part of a larger educational experience for area youth provided by the Paramount Arts Education Program. Nearly 400 city sixth graders, along with other area youth, attended the Secret Agent 23 Skidoo performance at The Paramount.  The concert was one of eleven live arts performances scheduled for area students during the 2019-20 school year. Read more about the performance at The Paramount here.

“Through our partnership with The Paramount Theater, our students are able to experience meaningful opportunities through live fine arts year after year,” said Eichorst. “For many of them, visiting the beautifully restored historic Paramount Theater with their classmates is their first experience seeing live music, dance, storytelling, or theater.”

See photo album of the workshop here. 

Read more about the visit, including details from the live performance at The Paramount here.

photo collage of pictures at The Paramount Theater performance.
Following the hip hop music writing workshop at Walker Upper Elementary School, all city sixth graders took a field trip to the historic Paramount Theater in Charlottesville to watch Secret Agent 23 Skidoo perform live.

More on Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

With sophisticated instrumental funk and positive, witty wordplay, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has earned a loyal national following. His latest album, Wake Up The Dream is an Amazon Original Album described as a “funk-filled trip through your subconscious.” 2016’s space-themed Infinity Plus One took home music’s biggest prize at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for Best Children’s Album of the Year. Positive themes of empowerment, love, imaginations set loose, hope, ambitions, and dreams run through 23 Skidoo’s extensive catalog.  For more, visit the web site.

More on The Paramount Arts Education Program

The Paramount Arts Education Program is committed to presenting the finest arts education performances for area school children. The support and generosity of their Arts Education Partners allows The Paramount to make these programs accessible to ALL children in Central Virginia by offering performances at a reduced cost or free of charge. Over 195,000 students and teachers from all over the region have attended a live performance at The Paramount since 2004. For more, visit the web site.

Related news coverage


logo for Walker Buford United PTO

Walker Buford United BTO needs volunteers

The Walker Buford United PTO is looking for volunteers for several upcoming events at each school. Please visit their new website and join their Facebook Group to learn more!

The Walker Fall Book Fair will be held during parent conferences on the evenings of November 6 – logo for Walker Buford United PTO7 and during the school day from November 7 – 13. Volunteers are needed to help ring up purchases and supervise sales. Think about recruiting a friend or fellow parent to make it an extra fun volunteer shift. Thanks for whatever you can do!

Other upcoming events include Walker iSTEM Night and Walker International Night. More details will be posted soon on the PTO Facebook page and web site.

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/walkerbufordunited/
Web site: http://www.walkerbufordunited.org

Graphic for Walker Buford United PTO community forum

Walker Buford United sponsors community forum

Graphic for Walker Buford United PTO community forumThe Walker-Buford United PTO hosted a community forum on September 11 in the Walker School auditorium for Charlottesville City Schools families.

Watch recorded Facebook livestream here:

Part 1
Part 2

The forum was an opportunity to engage in dialogue about planning and implementation of recent adopted changes across the district.  A panel of school representatives included school principals Dr. Adam Hastings (Walker), Dr. Jesse Taylor (Buford), and Dr. Eric Irizarry (CHS).  Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about division-wide changes such as unleveling and differentiation, as well as other topics such as the gifted education program and how to become more involved with the PTO.

The next Walker Buford United PTO meeting will be at Buford School on Wednesday, October 9 at 6 p.m.

logo for Walker Buford United PTO

New PTO merger unites Walker and Buford

logo for Walker Buford United PTOWe are excited to announce a new and combined parent teacher organization that includes Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School. Walker Buford United will support both schools today and lay the groundwork for a strong PTO during and after our future school reconfiguration.

For more, please read the following announcement that was published in the first Walker Buford United PTO newsletter:

Dear Parents and Community of Walker and Buford:

With August 21 right around the corner, we are getting excited for the return of our amazing students!

We have been hard at work this summer preparing for a successful fall in both schools. Our minds and efforts have been focused on two important areas: instruction and community building. We want Walker and Buford to be safe, positive, and fun schools in which every child has the opportunity to grow and learn. As principals, we are committed to equity in our schools: more than options and access, we want to ensure that every child meets her or his full potential.

We are particularly excited by the merging of our two Parent Teacher Organizations. This is a very important step in easing the transition between Walker and Buford as we develop shared practices, communication, and parent support. This will be real work. Together, we have an entire community to bring together in our schools. With over 1,300 students, we have important work to connect each family and our PTO. We greatly appreciate the support of the new PTO and look forward to engaging all of our community in supporting our schools.

With hope for a wonderful school year,
Dr. Adam Hastings, Principal, Walker Upper Elementary
Dr. Jesse Turner, Principal, Buford Middle